Apart from many many benefits of plant based diet, it can easily get pretty expensive. Just take a look at those egg replacers and fancy schmancy kinds of sugars. You try to eat healthy and suddenly it seams that your grocery bill is twice as high. Don’t worry. It’s easy to get into the trap of buying expensive “healthy foods”, animal product replacers and superfoods when, in fact, most of the ingredients that you need for switching for healthy plant-based diet are already in your pantry (like, you guessed it, applesauce!). Or you would if your diet consisted of anything else than fast food and crappy snacks. But do not fear – you can easily change your eating habits, especially if you visit your local grocery store and go into a fruit and veggies aisle rather than heading straight for snacks.
Applesauce – homemade or store-bought?
One of the superfoods that you should ALWAYS have in your refrigerator is applesauce. Obviously IMO the best kind is the one that you make yourself because you have a control over what you put in it. However, I’ve recently read that making applesauce at home may be more expensive than buying a mass-produced kind. If that is your case, I’m not gonna insist that you should make it from scratch of it’s sh*t. It’s not. In fact, it is still extremely beneficial to use applesauce instead of sugar or eggs, or even oil, no matter if it’s homemade or store-bought.
What is applesauce?
Applesauce can be many things as there are many different recipes for applesauce. The most basic one is that it is just a puree of roasted apples. That’s the core of the recipe. What you add apart from the apples can make or break the recipe when it comes to creating something that is actually healthy. Usually, other ingredients include sugar or other sweetener (optionally), lemon juice and cinnamon. However, not all applesauces are created equal! If you add too much sugar, it’s gonna become a calorie trap. If you add gelatine (yes! Some people do that!?!), it’s no longer vegan, nor healthy. If you buy a store-bought applesauce with weird, E-something ingredients in it, it might be full of artificial (and usually unhealthy) preservatives and you should just leave it at the store shelf.
What to use applesauce for?
Applesauce is pretty versatile. You can use it in multiple ways, both in sweet and savory recipes. It tastes AWESOME in your everyday oatmeal, can easily replace oil in your muffins and eggs in many baked sweets. Also, I’ve seen some seriously mouth-watering recipes for applesauce drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) so if you have any excess, you’ll surely find a way to use it up. I personally like most to use applesauce as a sweetener in my waffle recipe so be sure to give it a try. My 6-year old son eats it straight from the jar with a spoon so you can try that, too. 😉
I’ve prepared a list of interesting recipes that use applesauce. Some of those are my all-time favorites (Hello, Happy Herbivore fan here!) and others were just so tempting that I couldn’t NOT include them. I’m gonna try some of them out soon so be sure to check out my Instagram account to share your thoughts as well. You can find my personal ranking HERE. (<—It’s gonna be here soon. I promise! :*)
How to replace eggs with applesauce?
Before we dive in, let’s note that if a recipe calls for just one egg and there is a leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda, you can just skip the egg without any harm for the recipe. Optionally you can add 1-2 tablespoons of plant milk to keep the same amount of liquid.
However, what should we do with recipes that call for 2 or even 4 eggs? Well, this is exactly the case where applesauce comes handy. It replaces eggs wonderfully, keeping the baked goods moist and fluffy. Usually, the ratio for eggs replacement is 1/4 cup of applesauce for 1 egg. Applesauce works great as a glue in the recipe because of the pectins which it contains. Just make sure that there is another leavening agent to help the baked goods rise such as baking soda or baking powder.
How to replace oil or butter with applesauce?
Applesauce works great as oil or butter substitution in baking recipes. You can easily cut down the calories in any baked goods by half if you simply swap fat for applesauce in ratio 1:1. It means that instead of 1 cup of any fat (oil, butter, and even lard) you should use 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce.
However, please not that using too much applesauce will make your baked goods a little dense and may not rise as high as they would with traditional ingredients. To avoid it, add the applesauce gradually until you reach desired batter consistency.
How to replace sugar with applesauce?
In our house, this is the most common swap. I add applesauce to our daily oatmeal to make it more kid-friendly. I use it as a filling for pancakes (tastes awesome with cashew nuts cream) or just to spice up my morning cup of vegan yoghurt. You basically need swap sugar or other sweeteners for applesauce in ratio 1:1. However, you’ll probably be tempted to add more applesauce than you would sugar. And that’s ok. It’s so much healthier that you won’t break the bank if you add two rich tablespoons of applesauce to your oatmeal instead a regular 1 tsp of sugar.
However, in baked recipes you should stick to the 1:1 ratio and keep in mind that applesauce is actually a wet ingredient. You may need to limit the amount of other liquids (usually water or non-dairy milk) to keep the right level of moisture.
What to add to homemade applesauce?
The simplest of the simplest applesauces is made with apples only. However, adding some basic ingredients can make is taste (and look) oh, so much better.
The first are the lemons. Or rather lemon juice. It keeps apples from turning brown. If you add 1-2 tablespoons to a portion of applesauce, you’ll get a beaufitul peachy (ha!) or pinky color, depending on the species of apples used for the sauce.
Another ingredient worth adding is cinnamon. It adds another layer of taste to your homemade applesauce, creating a multidimensional flavor that you’ll love. However, you should consider skipping it, if you plan on using it for baking as it can overshadow more delicate flavors like vanilla.
Once you master the simplest applesauce recipe, you may want to experiment with different species of apples or even add one pear or a peach to pump up the taste of the final creation. And trust me, once you make it yourself and see the vastness of posibilities that it creates, you’ll never go back to the store-bought product.
The Simplest Homemade Applesauce
- Thermomix or a high power blender
- 2 lbs apples Weight without the cores
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2-4 tbsp cane sugar (optionally) only if apples are very sour
- Cut out the cores out of the apples. You do not need to peel them.
- Blend them for 3 seconds into chunks.
- Cook for 12 minutes in Thermomix or in a pot with a thick bottom.
- Once the apples are cooked, add cinnamon.
- Blend the mixture into smooth puree.
- Pour applesauce into a heat-resistant cotainer or into clean, sterilized jars.
- (Optionally) Pasteurize the applesauce in the tightly twisted jars.